Xi’s China

Published November 27, 2018, 12:07 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Jullie Yap Daza
Jullie Yap Daza

Or, conversely, China’s Xi, now that some in the Western press are tagging him as the first modern emperor (after the Communist Party abolished the president’s term limit).

President Xi’s language is sprinkled with references to nature, in much the same way that the poets of ancient China did. He refers to his vision of “development of a shared destiny” as a garden, while protecting the environment as the world’s single biggest challenge. “The Chinese economy is not a pond but an ocean,” and just to make that clear, “heavy winds and storms may upset a pond but never an ocean.”

In the last decade, the Chinese have increased their incomes 25 times, and more than 800 million of them have lifted themselves out of poverty. The state’s target is to wipe out extreme poverty by 2020.

As more and more Chinese invest globally and spend huge sums on branded goods (that they are expert in imitating), they’re expanding their influence into technology, science, medicine, even entertainment. “Chinawood,” for example, occupies 10 square miles on 6, 400 acres, with 13 cinemas opening every day. The industry makes US$5 billion annually.

In Shenzen, 3 million cars are owned by a population of 12 million; after all, it’s the largest manufacturing base.

A total of 700 million people live in cities now. There are 240 million senior citizens aged 60 and above.

To serve 1.3 billion people, the transportation system is ever evolving. It will need 20,000 pilots in the next couple years. High-speed trains are in a hurry to move faster than the Beijing-to-Shanghai ride that’s 800 miles long and currently takes five hours at 148 mph. There’s a train that climbs mountains, there’s a newly built bridge – no need for trains – that connects Macau and Hong Kong, cutting travel time on the 55 km span to 30 minutes. China is the world’s biggest market for wine, and exporters load their bottles on the train, cheaper than planes, faster than ships.

The time of Xi has seen how “incredibly transformative” his Belt and Road initiative, twinned with Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank, has become.

To quote former DFA secretary Albert del Rosario, “China is admired as the workshop of the world. Tomorrow it will earn greater accolades as a mighty factory of the new global economy.”

That’s the China that Xi’s pal Duterte will see in spring 2019.